I've never been the neat handbag type.
Business cards, old receipts, things Lila hands to me, things I want to keep but don't know what to do with them, they all eventually end up at the bottom or in the numerous pockets of my bag. Some things are useful. Others, junk. And some are mementos, things I don't really need, but can't bring myself to throw away. Yet.
This time, my bag -- which triples as handbag, computer bag and carry on -- has been through a lot. It began with us in Salta beginning of July. We made our way through Cordoba, Neuquen and skiing San Martin de los Andes. Then Atlanta, Burning Man, where my bag arrived to find itself smack in the middle of a dust storm, and finally two overnight drives from Atlanta to NYC and back.What did I find?
These little things are endlessly useful for Burning Man. From attaching tarp to poles for a shade structure, to securing your tent, connecting a cup handle to utility belt, bondage classes and excellent for tying, securing or binding just about anything. Very handy.
Now that I'm no longer at Burning Man, I still use them in dozens of situations. Bracelets for Lila, collars for her stuffed kitty -- which honestly, is so tight, it seems to border on bondage as well. Quick suitcase fixes, holding computer cables and so much more.Half Eaten String Cheese, Still In Wrapper
I'm not proud. I guess it ended up here somewhere between Harrisburg and Roanoke, but this isn't the first time I've found food remains festering here. Balloons
I carry these just about everywhere, always. Not so much for Burning Man, because I figured a burst balloon will likely end up in pieces all over the playa, but as a toy. Blow one up and Lila is occupied for hours. They're also great when playing with a group of kids, because their floaty, bouncy ways ensure that all children playing have a chance at the ball.
Bike Cover In Ziplock
Another prop from Burning Man. I got mine at Black Rock Bicycles, where we rented our bikes. The owner's wife makes them. Mine is purple on top with a many colored tie-dyed edge. It's still filthy from dust storms, and there's an inch of playa dust at the bottom of the bag which oddly makes me wax nostalgic. How quickly a girl forgets how corrosive such dust can be.
Two Pairs Of Underwear.
One Lila's. One mine. Both clean. Because you never know when you'll need them.
Yes, those are my Top Five. Three of which, I'll continue to keep in my bag. Can you guess which ones?
The others, I'm sure, will somehow find their way back, along with incense, a bike lock, jeweled heart and butterfly stickers, candles, ski lift ticket, a few rocks, seeds, leaves from various trees and a pack of two inch nails.
I go through this every time we pack. It's the constant winnowing of what is important enough to carry along, what must be thrown out and what must be left behind. This process is enormous, overwhelming the first time you do it. Over time, though, it gets easier, and eventually, you find you just won't feel right unless you've lightened your load. After all, do you really want to carry a sleeping bag cover and hammer along for the ride?
This time, I'll admit, has been much harder than in the past. I don't want to leave Atlanta, although I do want to return to our adventure in Salta. Here, we have family, contacts, connections. There, we have a new project, a summer of camping in some of the most beautiful terrain on the planet, and plenty I have yet to uncover.
Photo courtesy of Valerie Renee's Flickrstream